A new study provides reference standards for clinical evaluations.
Explore This Procedure
About This Procedure
An echocardiogram creates a clear image of the heart by using high frequency sound waves. Our team can then use these images to accurately diagnose and make clinical decisions. There are several different types of echocardiograms and each presents a different perspective of the heart. At the Massachusetts General Hospital Corrigan Minehan Heart Center, our team offers several different types of echocardiograms, including transthoracic echocardiograms, transesophageal echocardiograms, dobutamine stress echocardiograms and bicycle stress echocardiograms.
A transthoracic echocardiogram (also called an echo) is a test that uses high frequency sound waves, called ultrasound, to examine and take pictures of your heart. It is a safe and painless procedure that helps doctors diagnose a variety of heart problems. During most echocardiographic procedures an additional test, called Doppler echocardiography, is performed to determine the direction and velocity of blood flow within your heart.
What Does This Test Show?
During the echocardiogram, it is possible for the cardiologist to:
- Watch the heart’s motion
- Ascertain if the valves are opening and closing properly
- Determine the size of the heart chambers and major vessels
- Measure the thickness of the heart walls
This data can be very important in your physician’s determination of your diagnosis and the need for further tests or treatment.
Preparing for the Transthoracic Echocardiogram
There is no need to restrict food or fluid intake or to alter any medication schedule unless your physician specifically instructs you. Please arrive at least 15 minutes before your exam to provide time for registration.
Make sure your insurance information is up to date and bring your Massachusetts General Hospital Medical Record Number (MRN) and a photo ID to your appointment. If you are a new patient, please call the Mass General Registration and Referral Center at 866-211-6588 to obtain an MRN. The center is open Monday through Thursday, 8:00 am to 6:00 pm and on Friday from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm. You may also visit the patient registration office on the first floor in the Wang Building or in the Yawkey Center.
If you cannot make your appointment, please inform the echo lab 24 to 48 hours prior to your test day at 617-726-1840 or 617-726-8871.
- Staff Story
- Dec | 16 | 2020
Janet Ma, MD, is a first-year fellow in the Cardiovascular Disease Fellowship Program at Massachusetts General Hospital. Dr. Ma explains what inspired her to come to Mass General, to pursue a career in medicine and her work to improve equity in health care.
- Press Release
- Nov | 16 | 2020
Short bursts of physical exercise induce changes in the body’s levels of metabolites that correlate to, and may help gauge, an individual’s cardiometabolic, cardiovascular and long-term health.
- Press Release
- Nov | 11 | 2020
New research by investigators at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) reveals considerable uncertainty in how to care for patients with a certain type of heart attack.
- Press Release
- Nov | 10 | 2020
Study reveals reveals women with premature menopause often exhibit certain blood cell changes that elevate their risk of developing coronary artery disease.
- Oct | 9 | 2020
Mass General and Newton-Wellesley Hospital staff have been working together for the past eight months to ensure a safe, efficient and thoughtful transition plan for the more than 600 anticoagulation patients who will now receive their care at the MGH AMS Clinic.